Summary: Understanding spiritual gifts unifies a body and enables it for service. #5 of 5.
Title: What’s A Body To Do?
Series: Discovering God’s Special Gifts
Text: 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; 31
Theme: Understanding spiritual gifts unifies a body and enables it for service.
Introduction: The Heretic
I was walking in San Francisco along the Golden Gate Bridge when I saw a man about to jump off. I tried to dissuade him from committing suicide and told him simply that God loved him. A tear came to his eye. I then asked him, “Are you a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, or what?”
He said, “I’m a Christian.”
I said, “Me, too, small world . . .Protestant or Catholic?”
He said, “Protestant.”
I said, “Me, too, what denomination?”
He said, “Baptist.”
I said, “Me, too, Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Baptist.”
I said, “Well, ME TOO, Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.”
I said, “Well, that’s amazing! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist or Northern Conservative Reformed Baptist?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist.”
I said, “Remarkable! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Eastern Region?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region.”
I said, “A miracle! Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?”
He said, “Northern Conservative Fundamentalist Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.”
I said, “DIE HERETIC!’ and pushed him over the rail. (Source unknown)
I. A BODY FUNCTIONS AS A UNIFIED ORGANISM. (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
A. A Body Has Many Members That Function As One (12)
Illustration: What Do You Mean ‘We’?
Tonto and the Lone Ranger were riding through a canyon together when all of a sudden both sides were filled with Indian warriors on horses, dressed for battle.
The Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and asked, "What are we going to do?"
Tonto replied, "What you mean ’we,’ white man?" (Edward Dobson, In Search of Unity, p. 20-27, http://christianglobe.com/illustrations)
1. Race is insignificant.
2. Social status doesn’t matter.
3. Political affiliation is unimportant.
4. Educational background irrelevant.
5. Rich or poor.
6. Fat or thin.
7. Beautiful or ugly.
B. I Am A Member Of Christ’s Body (13)
1. We become part of the body as we are baptized by Christ with the Holy Spirit.
Note: Paul is not speaking of water baptism here.
2. Being part of a body emphasizes the unity of all believers. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
3. Being made to drink into one Spirit or being baptized by the Holy Spirit (refers to the same thing) is not an experience to seek, but a reality to acknowledge.
a. At salvation, all believers become full members of Christ’s body.
c. There is no need for a second blessing.
II. A BODY ACKNOWLEDGES ITS MANY MEMBERS (1 Corinthians 12:14-17)
A. No Member Of The Body Is In Control (14)
1. There is no such thing as a dictator in the body of Christ.
2. There are pastors, deacons, leaders, prophets, etc., but there are no dictators.
3. Jesus Christ is the head of the church.
B. Every Member Has An Assigned Function (1 Corinthians 12:15-17)
Note: Some members of the Corinthian church were jealous of the spiritual gifts of others. They somehow didn’t feel as if they had anything to contribute. Their perception (which became their own reality) was that since they didn’t possess a more prominent gift that they really weren’t a significant part of the body. In this thinking they were totally wrong.
1. We must both recognize and accept God’s gift to us and use it appropriately.
2. In seeking gifts that we may feel are showier, we are acting in the flesh and may misuse the gift God has given us.
a. The tongue can be used to spread the gospel or spread gossip.
b. The eye can be used to read the Word or view pornography.
c. The ear can be used to listen to the gentle sounds of a rainy afternoon or listen to the latest dirty joke.
d. The feet can be used to take us to church or to take us to the local bar.
3. Even worse, we may try to counterfeit gifts that we do not have.
III. NO MEMBER OF THE BODY CAN FUNCTION ALONE. (1 Corinthians 12:18-21)
Note: Some members of the Corinthian church who had the more showy gifts were looking down on those who did not. They gave the impression that the showier gifts were more important, and that they could carry on without the lesser gifts. Again, this was wrong thinking on their part.
A. Every Gift Is Assigned By God For A Purpose (18)
1. If you don’t do your part, who will?